Dark Arena – Worlds Of Horror

Worlds Of Horror Cover

Dark Arena – Worlds Of Horror
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 27/08/2021
Running Time: 39:45
Review by Simon Black

When music like this hits my desk, it always brings something of a lump to my throat. Dark Arena have been around for a while in various guises and have staggered out a number of records to date. I say staggered because one is their original 2006 EP that was repackaged and expanded last year, another a compilation, making this effectively their fifth full length studio album. It’s also sadly their last, as string-virtuoso Paul Konjicija sadly passed away in 2019. This recording was made in 2018 and is effectively an epitaph to both him and the band.

Given that they did not have the luxury of being able to go back and post-produce and touch up in the standard way, I suspect that the mix we have here is fairly close to what was laid down in the studio. I come to this conclusion because the engineering jumps around a little and, overall, could do with a bit more depth of field being added to the mix, as vocals and instruments don’t always flow cohesively as a band. If the vocals were slightly further back in the mix this would have sounded perfect.

This is a minor issue though, because what stands out on this album first and foremost are Konjicija’s quite significant musical chops. He takes both bass and all guitar duties on the recordings and is an incredibly proficient player – whichever part or instrument that he is playing. The overall sound is the kind of USA sound that blends the technical proficiency of Progressive Metal with the attitude and structures common to Thrash. The tracks that work best are when they keep things short, sweet and Thrashy, with ‘Sacred Rite’standing out as the strongest song on here, not only from having the punchiest arrangement, but because is also makes the most effective use of Juan Ricardo’s vocal range. That said, like most work with a Progressive edge, it benefits from multiple listens that give the opportunity for the depth crafted into the arrangements to come to the fore. A fitting epitaph.

‘Dark Arena’ (Official Lyric Video)

01. Worlds Of Horror
02. Dark Arena
03. Annunaki Arise
04. Damnation Within
05. Bite The Bullet
06. Kill Procedure
07. Sacred Rite
08. Destiny Bridge
09. Abandoned

Juan Ricardo – Vocals
Paul Konjicija – Bass & Guitars
Noah Buchanan – Drums & Keyboards


Dark Arena Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Kiko Shred’s Rebellion – Rebellion

Rebellion Album Cover Art

Kiko Shred’s Rebellion – Rebellion
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 49:16
Review by Simon Black

It’s not quite clear whether this is a slightly new brand and project (the release is distinctly named ‘Kiko Shred’s Rebellion’), or the fourth album extension of the existing Kiko Shred band incarnation (i.e., ‘Kiko Shred – Rebellion’). Either way this record is pure Brazilian Power Metal cum Guitar Hero hybrid at its technical best, as the aptly named guitarist does exactly that. It’s always tricky when an act is named for and built around someone with a reputation for, errr, shredding, as the risk that the virtuosity of one instrument dominates the project cannot be ignored. In this instance we need not worry, as this four piece are razor tight and proficient in all areas, including that most important one of all – the song-writing department.

Musically this kicks off in super high tempo, with the pile-driving ‘Mirror’ and straight away I am struck by the cohesive musical interplay between all the players. This is technically really proficient stuff and even though Shred’s guitar virtuosity is clearly front and centre throughout, there’s some really tight time structures and reciprocity between drums, bass and guitar. ‘Rainbow After The Storm’ has a more accessible and catchier riff-based structure, but when the shredding starts, it’s done by all the instruments working as a seamless whole. And let’s not forget the vocal performance here either, as Ed Gadlin certainly has a set of powerful lungs on him, with a high clean range, but enough guts and gravel to keep it edgy. Central to the record is the title track, which does actually verge into shredder territory more than most, with a few Neo-Classical moments of relentless fret-hammering guitar work, but in general by keeping a Metal edge to it and balancing the musical tones and styles, this works by showing the sheer proficiency of the players at work. ‘Thorn Across My Heart’ is the mid-point of the record and the one point where it seems to lose focus, but the instrumental ‘Mors Non Separabit’ brings it right back – opening with acoustic/electric guitar interplay, we get some really complex technical foot and fretwork when the song opens up the pace a bit. It’s heavy, subtle and dizzying in its virtuosity, without feeling like there’s any showing off going on.

Fundamentally, although a project named after its dexterous guitarist, the cohesion between the players makes this feel like a full-on band, rather than just a vehicle for one whizz player. It’s tight, it’s well-crafted and it’s lovingly executed.

‘Mirror’ (Official Video)

01. Intro
02. Mirror
03. Rainbow After The Storm
04. Rebellion
05. Thorn Across My Heart (Feat. Doogie White)
06. Mors Non Separabit
07. Honour To The Fallen Brothers
08. The Hierophant
09. Voodoo Queen
10. Information War

Ed Gadlin – Vocals
Kiko Shred – Guitars
Will Costa – Bass
Lucas Tagliari – Drums


Kiko Shred Rebellion Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ironbourne – Ironbourne

Ironbourne Cover Art

Ironbourne – Ironbourne
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 51:03
Review by Simon Black

Not to be confused with the very similarly spelt Northern Irish outfit, this act hails from Sweden and is a very NWOBHM influenced, but equally quite Modern Metal sounding act, with more than a few Stoner tropes, adding an ear-ringingly heavy layer to their sound. The constituent members have all been round the block a while, but this act is fairly recent in its incorporation however and, as a debut, makes an impressive opening salvo. I can’t find too much about them as beyond a Facebook page they don’t have too much of a web presence, which realistically is something you chaps need to fix if you ever get around to reading this.

One thing about this album, it’s wonderfully heavy without feeling overtly down tuned or depressive, which means despite most of the songs being fairly slow in pace, you are left with a largely up-beat feeling. It’s quite disconcertingly effective. The challenge is that too many of the tracks are equally paced in their delivery, so after the half way point in the album, you are craving for a change of pace. We get this with the highly impressive ballad ‘Too Late’, which gives the guitarists a chance to play acoustically, to the point that it almost feels like a completely different band. When another and much faster pace change comes quite late with the very positively speedy ‘Runaway’, you are left with the feeling that more variety would have made this a more interesting record. All the constituent parts work well though – these are musicians with a strong sense of mood and they know how to get a rich sound in the recording process and Torbjörn Andersson’s voice is loud, powerful and hypnotic. The epic closer ‘Year of Judgement’ probably encapsulates all the best elements and also dares to be a bit more experimental and trippy with the sound, adding a much-needed layer of reverb to add to that epic and haunting feeling.

The challenge I have with this album is not that there is absolutely nothing bad about it, but it just fails to deliver anything eyebrow-raisingly exceptional for a big chunk of its length and that’s down to too many of the songs feeling the same in pace and tone. All the tracks are absolutely competent enough, the musicians play well, the sound is rich and mature, but the song-writing sometimes lacks the punchy, dangerous edge that this sort of music thrives upon, although the three tracks I have called out absolutely do, making this an album that feels slightly unfinished. Perhaps this is just a symptom of a band that really need to be in the same physical space for the chemistry to fire up, so I would be curious to see what a live show looks like. When they vary the pace and become more experimental, this band soars and hopefully they can take those elements and run with them. Nonetheless, an impressive start.

01. The Dreamer
02. Elusive Reality
03. Varsel
04. Twilight Of Gods
05. Too Late
06. Covenant
07. Hit The Wall
08. Runaway
09. Year Of Judgement

Torbjörn Andersson – Vocals
Olof Geijer – Guitars
Lars Andersson – Bass
Jonas Windle – Guitars
Stefan Viktorsson – Drums


Ironbourne Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Knight – Road To Victory

Black Knight – Road To Victory
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 44:14
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

When Rick from Ever Metal (you know Rick, don’t you?) asked if I would do a guest review for him, I jumped at the chance. Well, saying I jumped at the chance is not quite right. I said “yes!” straight away but the album has been sitting on my laptop (despite Rick’s badgering) for far too long. So, I gave myself the proverbial kick up the jacksie and finally sat down and listened to this album “Road To Victory”, from Dutch band, Black Knight (I wonder if they were Deep Purple fans?)

And by golly, I am glad I did. As some of you may remember from my time at Ever Metal, Rick always knew my taste in music MUCH better than I did and he really did hit the jackpot with this one!

But first…some history!

Black Knight were first formed in Amsterdam in 1981, releasing two demos, one in the 1980’s and one in the 1990’s, their debut album “Tales From The Darkside” in 1999 and its successor “The Beast Inside” in 2007, but that’s where the story ended.

Until now!

Drummer Rudo Plooy, the only remaining original member of Black Knight, is back with a new (sort of) band and a stonking new album. I say a sort of new band as guitarist Gertjan Vis (from 3rd Machine) was already involved in the band in the 1990’s and bassist Ron Heikens (Profound) has been involved with the band for a number of years too. More recently, 2017 saw the introduction of guitarist Ruben Raadschelders and vocalist David Marcelis (Lord Vulture and Thorium).

So, what does the third full length offering from these guys give us?

Well, I have seen reviews of this album that are not very complimentary, but I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with them. As I previously stated, this is a stonking album with some great tracks, title track ‘Road To Victory’, ‘Legend’ and ‘Pendragon’ being the standout songs for me.

With galloping twin guitar riffs and classic vocals, this is a tremendous mix of power metal and traditional heavy metal. Some might say that this has all been done before and indeed it has, but for those of us who are fans of these particular genres of metal we need bands like Black Knight to keep the flag flying for those genres. And what is so wrong about traditional heavy metal anyway?

This album takes you on a trip right back to the 1980’s with its shredding guitar solos and old school lyrics and I, for one, sincerely hope this type of metal never dies. It’s hard, it’s heavy, there is great musicianship, and it encompasses the whole spirit of heavy metal.

So, grab those studded leather jackets, raise those fists in the air and headbang yourself around the living room (seeing as we are not allowed to do this in the pubs at the moment!)

Hopefully once the world gets back to some sort of normality and gigs are allowed again, I hope these guys make a trip to England. I would love to see them live and I wait with bated breath for their next album. Just don’t leave it thirteen years this time, eh?

01 Road To Victory
02 Legend
03 Pendragon
04 Thousand Faces
05 My Beautiful Daughters
06 Crossing The Rubicon
07 Primal Power
08 The One To Blame

David Marcelis – Lead & Backing Vocals
Ruben Raadschelders – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Gertjan Vis – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Ron Heikens – Bass Guitar
Rudo Plooy – Drums

Machiel Kommer – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Anneleen Olbrechts – Backing Vocals
Dana Raadschelders – Backing Vocals


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Ancient Curse – The New Prophecy

Ancient Curse – The New Prophecy
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 57:48
Review by Tsarina Wilson

Ancient Curse formed in 1985. Since then, they’ve always had the same line up of singer/guitarist Pepe Pierez (ex-Sons of Seasons), guitarist Gunnar Eixleben (ex-Riot Instinct). Bassist Thorsten Penz (G.L.A.S.S.) and drummer Matthias Schroder, and they’re still making great music today. They’re kind of Power Metal, kind of Proggy, and even though they formed way back when, they’re definitely not your typical 80’s band in any shape or form. Their ‘storm and stress’ phase emerged in the mid-1990’s, with one mini and two full-length albums. And now the guys from Bremen are making a return with 9 new heart thumping tracks in the shape of their new release, “The New Prophecy”, which I’m sure you will agree are unique and just amazingly good.

The album starts off with an interesting guitar section, before you get hit with full on powerful, rapid drumming, and just brilliant guitar riffs. I would describe their metal as speed metal meets Nordic, it has so much power behind it and the guitar execution is immense.

The seamless shift between tracks means the enjoyment of the album is continuous throughout with no let up. And their storytelling is superb. Track three ‘The Shadow’ could easily be used in a horror film – think nightmare scene and you’re there. I will add that this album is definitely not one if you’re suffering a hangover (no I wasn’t, before anyone asks!). The constant thundering drumming makes your head bang all the way through.

One thing that stands out, aside from the brilliant drums and guitar work, is Pepe’s incredible voice, which is not only crisp and powerful, but has variations which are enough to set the spine tingling. The backing vocals are also so complimentary to Pepe; they blend seamlessly together, and it just proves that, even after two decades, these guys have what it takes.

Track six, ‘One Moment Of Fortune’, starts off all nice and gentle, then there’s that head splitting drumming again, epic guitar riffs and, just when you think your head might explode, you suddenly go into slow, deep vocals. This is when you can perfectly hear Pepe’s vocal skills, it’s almost haunting. It’s like he’s the embodiment of the monster under your bed! This track is over 7 mins of pure enjoyment, it takes your through every emotion possible, starting gently, building up, going manic, and slipping back to dark and creepy! And the harmonising is brilliant!

Another track which will leave you in no doubt of Pepe’s skills is ‘Mind Chaos’. At 6 minutes plus, the guys certainly give you value for money! And here, Pepe’s voice shifts to almost whisper singing (if Phantom of the Opera ever gets a sequel, they need this track, it will give you goose bumps).

One thing that is evident across the whole album is the effortless way the guys blend together. The guitar riffs have you either playing air guitar or drift into your thoughts, usually just before you’re brutally awoken again by the drumming that could probably wake the devil!

Overall, I love the album and hope they guys don’t make us wait as long for their next album. They break the mould of the way metal should sound and are unique. So many bands just play what everyone else does, but here we have something different, something fresh, but powerful. It’s been a pleasure to review.

01. We Follow The Signs02. Fire And Ice03. The Shadow
04. Man Of The Storm
05. Hypnotize
06. One Moment Of Fortune
07. Forever Young
08. Mind Chaos
09. Prophecy

Pepe Pierez – Vocals/Guitars
Gunnar Eixleben – Guitars
Thorsten Penz – Bass
Matthias Schroder – Drums

Special Guests
Henning Basse – (Metalium/Sons of Seasons)Oliver Palotai – (Kamelot)


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Stargazery – Constellation

Stargazery – Constellation
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 44:42
Review by Chris Palmer

The second chapter in my journey with Ever Metal sees me travelling to the stars with Finnish Melodic Metallers, Stargazery, as the five-piece prepare to release their third opus at the end of this week.

Formed back in 2005 by guitarist Pete Ahonen (Burning Point, Ghost Machinery), the band released its debut album, “Eye On The Sky” in 2011. Four years later saw the release of the band’s follow-up album, “Stars Aligned”, which portrayed their tableau of keyboard-driven Melodic Metal that is heavily influenced by the likes of Rainbow and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath.

The band, which is completed by ex-MSG and ex-Snakegod vocalist Jari Tiura, Marko Pukkila (Bass), Pasi Hiltula (Keyboards) and Illka Leskelä (Drums), release a third album to a world still struggling with the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For those still suffering the continuous ramifications of lockdown and self-isolation (like yours truly), this new release is a welcome surprise…

Entitled “Constellation” and containing ten tracks, this musical treasure chest will maintain a firm grip on you for almost 45 minutes, as this quintet will lift your spirits and leave you gazing at the stars, as you reach for the repeat button after virtually every song!

Released via Pure Steel Records, the album’s epicness is immediately obvious as the riff-driven sounds of ‘Sinners In Shadows’ blast from the speakers. Consisting of a chorus to die for, you’ll be singing along in no time, as cobwebs are blown away by the heavy rhythm section and powerful vocal attack.

The keyboard-led ‘War Torn’ is equally brilliant, as the band encourages you to close your eyes and absorb the sounds, before rising again to headbang your way through the heavy ‘Self-Proclaimed King’. After several stoppages to allow for usage of the repeat button, the beautiful sounds of the bass guitar lead you into the melodic ‘Ripple The Water’, which is followed by the beautiful, slow moving ballad ‘I Found Angels’.

The second half of the album begins with the breathless and powerful title track, which leads you into the Melodic Metal masterpiece, ‘Caught In The Crossfire’. The keyboard sections throughout are truly marvellous, as is the guitar solo during the song’s second half, but it’s the entire rhythm of the tune that’ll have you bouncing around the room with a stupid grin on your face! ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ meanwhile, turns the pace down a notch with its brilliant chugging rhythm. However, Jari’s vocal talents really shine here, as he treats listeners to a wonderful mixture of powerful and melodic moments.

Penultimate number, ‘In My Blood’, is another slab of Melodic Metal awesomeness, as it rumbles along at varying tempos and impressive riffs. The keyboard solo during the second half brings back memories of Paul Raymond and Jon Lord, as the song comes to an end. The album closes with the heavy and epic ‘Raise The Flag’, which contains a pounding rhythm that’ll have you punching your fists in the air in sheer delight.

After three quarters of an hour the silence is deafening, but your blood will be pumping and your face aching from the stupid grin imposed upon you earlier. This Finnish quintet have risen spirits and lifted your face to the stars as they’ve hurdled through ten tracks of epicness. You’ve discovered that the music has been so good, it deserves another round…

And what’s not to like? Everything a fan of Melodic Metal could possibly ask for is on display throughout. Each track takes up a life of its own, yet remains on the overall path of the album’s journey by being driven by the powerhouse rhythm section of Marko and Illka. The guitars and keyboards of Pete and Pasi offer moments of sheer beauty, while complimenting the aforementioned duo throughout each track. The solo offerings of both Pete and Pasi bring joy to the ears, as both musicians do what they do best. The entire work is completed by a superb performance from Jari, as the singer treats the listener to a vocal display of power, wonder, and beauty throughout.

“Constellation” has been a truly wonderful album to review, and will remain on my playlist for many years to come…or at least until the next chapter from Stargazery arrives! For any fan of Melodic Metal, this album is an essential purchase. The same can be said for any fan of good metal music… What a delightful listening experience.

01. Sinners In Shadows
02. War Torn
03. Self-Proclaimed King
04. Ripple The Water
05. I Found Angels
06. Constellation
07. Caught In The Crossfire
08. Dark Side Of The Moon
09. In My Blood
10. Raise The Flag

Jari Tiura – Vocals
Pete Ahonen – Guitars
Marko Pukkila – Bass
Pasi Hiltula – Keyboards
Illka Leskelä – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Palmer and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 20/03/2020
Running Time: 45:46
Review by Victor Augusto

It’s not rare that I find myself analysing a band on the album cover art and the title songs names before I hear anything of their music. I must confess that I thought New York based Lost Legacy was a religious themed band, or their chosen subject was historical wars with religion involved. Maybe because the cover art reminded me of something sacred. Well, I wasn’t totally wrong, considering the main band’s theme is war, but the album’s concept is about soldiers sent to fight, not only in your country, but in others as well.

The lyrics don’t mention enemies, neither support any political side, but it is possible to hear parts mentioning situations like defending other nations against tyranny. It could be dangerous being easily misunderstood by the radical defenders of any political sides. But If you’re not like that, you will realise that the main idea of Lost Legacy’s lyrics is an interpretation of all the suffering these soldiers live through during war. From the fear of being in a battle you hear in ‘Front Line’, to a personal question of a warrior – if he will be remembered if he dies – in the beautiful song, ‘Will You Remember’.

It is important to highlight that the album is a phenomenal interpretation by the band. Imagine classic Heavy Metal or Power Metal, but change everything they perfectly interpret about power, steel, dragons and sword, to bombs, guns, death and all the trauma war can cause.

Musically, the band has an important differential in their sonority. Mainly, it is Classic Heavy Metal, but also with Power Metal elements, and they have vocal lines that remind me of Warrel Dane (R.I.P.). For me, the main goal of Lost Legacy is to not talk about the old-fashioned themes of Classic Metal bands, nor repeat things that Power Metal bands do all the time (constant double bass, high vocal screams all the time, etc.). However, if you are not a fan of Nevermore because you think Warrel Dane’s voice is too repetitive, despite being incredibly good, please, meet Mr. David Franco. Good voice and not repetitive or massive.

I must congratulate the guitarists Jorge Pulido and Scott Bennett for the great solos and riffs. Jochen Witllinger also does an amazing job to follow them on bass and AJ Spinelli provides incredible drum lines too, with plenty of variation. But the beautiful piano in the opening song ‘Rise To Glory’ shows the beautiful side of Lost Legacy’s music.

‘My Faith’ is a good song to represent the band’s sonority. ‘In The Name Of Freedom’ explores more fast guitar riffs and solos but, as I said before, everything happens without being massive or repetitive. The guitar work in ‘Take Me Away’ is very similar to Accept in style. All tracks could be considered highlights, but I did really enjoy ‘Enough Is Enough’ for the catchy riffs and heaviness.

“In the Name of Freedom” is an intense album that carries the dramas and feelings of a subject that people think is beautiful in movies but is completely full of pain for those who have to live it. Even though it is only the band’s second release, the experience of being on the road for 22 years has definitely helped them to record an amazing album.

01. Rise To Glory
02. My Faith
03. Front Line
04. In The Name Of Freedom
05. Take Me Away
06. Enough Is Enough
07. Will You Remember
08. Rules Of Engagement

David Franco – Vocals
Jochen Witllinger – Bass
Jorge Pulido – Guitars
Scott Bennett – Guitars
AJ Spinelli – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 50:15
Reviewed by ‘Dark Juan’
Score 9/10

Greetings and salutations, my imprisoned congregation of increasingly desperate metal brethren. And Sisters. And friends of indeterminate and other genders. I am Dark Juan and I’m writing more nonsense that may or may not involve an actual record review because I am fucking WIRED on coffee and words are just spilling out of my head and onto this computer screen and there is nothing I can do to stop them…

It is Day 4 of COVID-19 isolation and I am already entertaining fantasies of eating Mrs. Dark Juan. She would barbeque so beautifully… As I gaze wistfully from the attic of Dark Juan Terrace over the roofs of West Yorkshire I dream of burning it all to the ground and creating my meisterwerk here in the name of our Dread Lord Shaitan and creating a community of heavily armed, like minded people and raising a statue of Baphomet, rendered in glorious Italian stone… Sorry, you are not to know my master plan, mere mortals! If I need you I will seek you out, and your daughters too…. Don’t try hiding them, I can smell a virgin miles away. Just got to fuck this bastard virus off before it really starts impacting my plans for world domination.

Cloven Hoof are a British heavy metal band formed in 1979 and therefore Dark Juan has literally grown up with them. I’ll be absolutely honest with you, I read the blurb for this record and the dread words “The album features the return of the Dominator character who has been genetically brought back to life…” leapt out at me and I thought that I was going to have to take this record apart. For those of you that don’t know, “Dominator” was a Cloven Hoof album released in 1988 which must surely rank as one of the most unintentionally hilarious records of all time. Everything from the cover of some bizarre painted warrior woman in high denier tights, spike heels and the world’s most incongruous bow tied around her right thigh and gleefully perpetrated all of the worst things about heavy metal at that time, even if this teenage Priest of the Damned actually really liked the song ‘Nova Battlestar’. Russ North was also a dreadful, dreadful singer…

This is not an accusation that can be levelled at current throat George Call, however. This howling monster’s voice is a pleasing mix of high falsetto a la Lord Robert “AaaaaahAAAAAAAAHHHH” Halford, the slightly lower pitch of the Air Raid Siren Brucey “Bonus” Dickinson and the rough edge of old Panzer throat Udo “Balls To The Wall Wasn’t ENTIRELY Ironic” Dirkschneider. This is as good a set of classic metal vocalists as you are going to get and gives this record a right kick up its arse. And shoves some chilli sauce up there for good measure. The record sets off at the kind of pace a North Korean achieves when crossing the DMZ towards China on opening cut ‘Bathory’. Which is about Elisabeth Bathory. Lovely girl, Liz, met her once at a Cradle Of Filth gig in Bradford. Gorgeous complexion….  The pace doesn’t let up for second song ‘Alderley Edge’. Which is probably not about footballers living there. Cloven Hoof have eschewed the kind of crystalline production that trad metal bands go for these days and have instead chosen a thicker, bass led sound which suits the music much better anyway. It is heavier than a set of lead underpants, but glossed to a high polish. Think Iron Maiden, Helloween and Accept coupled sweatily together in a meat triangle with classic Queensrÿche being a voyeur and you have the sound of Cloven Hoof on this record. However, if it is innovation you’re looking for you are not going to find it here, pilgrim. The arrangements and lyrical content are most traditional in concept and execution and the soloing from guitarists Chris and Ash also traditional in style, if marvellously performed. The underlying touch of keyboards gives the band an interest just beyond the normal for heavy metal and makes for a very pleasing change. Bass duties are taken care of by the estimable Lee Payne and he does his usual dependable job underpinning the guitars. Mark Bristow’s drumming is also top notch even if the mix is a bit chancy now and again and his mastery fades in and out on occasion. The vocal harmonies on certain songs do sound somewhat ragged at times, but this is not really a criticism as it all just seems to add to the charm of five guys clearly playing their fucking socks off and enjoying the hell out of it.

So, does Dark Juan mock “Age Of Steel” as readily as he mocks “Dominator”? The answer is an emphatic FUCK NO! Where “Dominator” became parody metal earnestly gazing at its own navel and having its head kicked in by thrash, “Age Of Steel” is a snappish, snarling beast not interested in making friends and influencing people, but would much rather be up to its elbows in gore and sinew, gobbets of ruined flesh dropping from its mouth as it turns its malevolent, hungry gaze towards you and starts to pursue….

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Cloven Hoof a most metal 9/10 for a bloody enjoyable record that reminds you of everything that is good about trad. Intelligently played, fun sounding and finally possessed of a good singer, these NWOBHM stalwarts should claim their place in the pantheon of metal greatness at last. Nice one, chaps. Took you long enough!!!

01. Bathory (Surprisingly not the name of an online plumbing store.)
02. Alderley Edge (Has a hanging tree. Nothing to do with Manchester City players living there.)
03. Apathy (Dark Juan has been shaken out of his by Cloven Hoof.)
04. Touch The Rainbow (Taste the rainbow… Couldn’t help myself. Not sorry!)
05. Bedlam (Generally what the inside of my mind is like.)
06. Ascension (Erection?)
07. Gods Of War (Stop nicking Def Leppard song titles, you buggers.)
08. Victim Of The Furies (Is this the name of the Cloven Hoof fan club who are going to come and lynch me if I don’t pack it in?)
09. Judas (Priest? Iscariot? Smith? Which Judas are we on about? Arnold Judas Rimmer?)
10. Age Of Steel (Wins the Dark Juan Unamusing Sarcasm Award for most metal song title in the past ten years.)

George Call – vocals
Lee Payne – bass
Chris Coss – guitars
Ash Baker – guitars
Mark Bristow – drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Custard – A Realm of Tales

A Realm Of Tales Cover

Custard – A Realm Of Tales
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 19/05/2017
Running time: 55:21
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

I first come across the band Custard during my dj’ing days when their album “Infested by Anger” hit the inbox of the station I was working for at the time. If I am totally honest I never really paid them much attention, playing a few tracks on my show, before resigning them to the huge library of music stored away on my laptop.

If only I knew then just what I was missing out on.

Originally formed in Herne, Germany in 1987 by Chris Klapper, they were a phenomenon in teutonic metal and soon achieved “world famous” status but it was limited to their hometown and they failed to break out to a wider audience.

After years of line-up changes, 2007 was a massive change for them, as they had a brand new line up along with a fresh record deal. Now ten years later, 2017 sees the release of their sixth studio album “A Realm of Tales”

With tracks such as “Snow White”, “The Pied Piper” and “Arabian Nights” the album is heavily based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson and The Brothers Grimm, many traditional fairy tales originating in Germany. The lyrics are fantastic, retelling the well-known stories with the bands own little twist and the songs are full of catchy riffs and headbanging rhythms.

Playing old school heavy metal tunes, Custard have always made more of their song writing, power and melodies and this has resulted in a great album of epic proportions. Vocalist Olli Strasser is fantastic and hits all the notes that he needs to, making him a superb power metal singer. He could quite easily be compared to other power metal vocalists such as James Rivera of Helstar, Andy Deris of Helloween, Ralph Scheppers of Primal Fear and even to Rob Halford of Judas Priest.

I don’t think there is a bad song on the album, but then, for those of you who know me, would know I am a big power metal fan. Some people would think this album is a bit cheesy but what harm is a bit of cheese every now and then? I have read other reviews of this album, some of which loved it and others which hated it, but as I think with much of the power metal genre, you either like it or you don’t. And, if nothing else, credence must be paid to them for their song writing alone, not to mention their musicianship and production.

I think this will appeal to fans of bands from Helloween to Judas Priest and anything in between and is a must for any metal power metal fan.

I, for one, am going to go back and check out the album that was previously sent to me and then anything else they have done. I would love to see this album performed live, the stage show could be spectacular, so I guess I will have to keep my eyes out for any tour dates that may be coming up!!

01. Icy Stare
02. Queen of Snow
03. The Pied Piper
04. Arabian Nights
05. Snow White
06. Snow Away
07. The Little Match Girl
08. Daughter of The Sea
09. Witch Hunter
10. Sign of Evil
11. Bluebeard
12. Forged in Fantasy

Stefan Klempnauer – Guitars
Chris Klapper – Drums
Carsten Reichart – Guitars
Oliver Strasser – Vocals
Markus Berghammer – Bass


Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Emerald – Reckoning Day

Reckoning Day Cover

Emerald – Reckoning Day
Pure Steel Records
Release Date:  24/03/2017
Running Time: 1:09.23
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

Despite being around for over twenty years and with a back catalogue of six previous albums, I had never actually heard of Emerald until their new album “Reckoning Day” dropped into the Ever Metal inbox. This means I have nothing previous to compare this album to but this could have been a good thing as this release comes with a whole new line up.

Emerald were originally formed in Düdingen in Switzerland, founded in 1995 from the ashes of two local bands, Dark Crystal and Oppress and since releasing their last album “Unleashed” in 2012, they have changed their singer twice, now settling with Mace Mitchell (Silence Lost, Eddies Beast, The New Source), added a new second guitarist in the shape of Julien Menth (Six Pack) and brought in new bass player Vania Truttman.

“Reckoning Day” is their seventh studio album, released on 17/03/2017 in the UK (24/03/2017 worldwide) by Pure Steel Records and is over sixty minutes of heavy metal in its purest form. Pounding drums, heavy riffs and melodic leads, re-inforced with vigorous power metal vocals and strong production by V O Pulver (Gurd, Poltergeist, Destruction) give the band the “pure fucking heavy metal sound from Switzerland” sound that is proudly the tag line of their own website.

In essence, this could be considered two albums in one, or at least a double album, as it can be broken up into two distinct parts. The first half is just pure and classic heavy power metal, with the band sounding like bands such as Edguy, Avantasia or Helloween one minute then turning things up a notch or two to match the sound of Metallica or Iron Maiden the next. There is even a Bon Jovi-esque power ballad thrown in for good measure, although personally I don’t think belongs on the album. I love a good power ballad, but this changes their sound too much and I just don’t think it fits well with the rest of the tracks.

The second half of the album is a concept titled “The Burgundian Wars” that is based on the historical novel “Der Löwe von Burgund.” What many people won’t know is that this book was actually written, and published in 2012, by the band’s keyboard player Thomas Vaucher, proving there is more to this band than first meets the eye. Bookended by musical narration this part of the album could almost have been released entirely on its own and quite possibly should have been.

The core elements of the Emerald sound are twin guitar harmonies and leads, a solid and galloping rhythm section and clean, strong, assertive metal vocals. These fundamentals are then mixed with plenty of melody, harmony and groove, with a touch of synthesisers for orchestration to produce a power metal sound that has some fucking balls.

This is a classic heavy metal band with a very “keep it real” tradition, not afraid to mix it up a bit, while keeping their sound firmly in their roots.

There is much to like about this album, and lots to love. I personally would have released it as two separate albums but that’s just my humble opinion and incorporating it all onto one does nothing to take away from just how good it is. I could go on all night about this album but why listen to me singing its praises when you can go and purchase a copy and listen for yourself?

If you like power metal you’ll love this album, if you like thrash metal you’ll love this album…..hell, if you like classic heavy metal, you’ll love this album.

So, what are you still reading this for?? Get online and order yourself a copy…..now!!

1. Only The Reaper Wins
2. Black Pyramid
3. Evolution In Reverse*
4. Horns Up
5. Beyond Forever
6. Through The Storm*
7. Ridden By Fear
8. Mist Of The Past
9. Trees Full Of Tears
10. Lament Of The Fallen
11. Reckoning Day
12. Reign Of Steel
13. Signum Dei
14. Fading History
15. End Of The World*

Al Spicher – Drums
Michael Vaucher – Guitars
Thomas Vaucher – Keyboards
Julien Menth – Guitars
Vania Truttmann – Bass
Mace Mitchell – Vocals


Emerald Band Shoot by STEMUTZ.COM, 08.12.2016

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.